Socialist Worker

Left to die by the G8 debt con

by Mzimasi Makiniki, anti-debt campaigner, Malawi
Issue No. 1956

We are angry and dismayed that Malawi is not included in the plan for debt relief.

All we get are promises of action in a year or two’s time. That decision means child deaths. It means shattered households. It means the real weapon of mass destruction — debt — will continue to destroy Malawi’s people.

But in any case debt cannot be abstracted from other issues. For years the small farmers of Malawi have been encouraged by the World Bank and IMF to grow tobacco as a cash crop for export. Less than 3 percent of the tobacco produced in the country is smoked in Malawi.

Three weeks ago the big tobacco companies bought the tobacco crop at prices 23 percent lower than last year. No amount of debt relief, even if it ever arrives, will make up for that.

Over 100,000 farmers rely on this tobacco money. Together with their families, that is half a million people who are 23 percent poorer.

Children won’t go to school, mothers won’t go to hospital, people will die. The tobacco industry brings in over half of Malawi’s foreign exchange. We are told to grow this harmful drug by IMF and World Bank, and then the global cigarette drug pushers cut the price for it!

As for the question of good government, our worst leader was Hastings Banda, trained in Scotland and backed by the British throughout his corrupt rule.

Good wishes to all who will demonstrate in Edinburgh. Do not let them off the hook. No to war, cancel all the debts.

Eric Toussaint explains that This ‘historic’ debt deal is nothing but a sham

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Sat 18 Jun 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1956
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